More than just fun, but an experience.
Summer camps are more than just a fun way to spend time during your break. They’re an opportunity to learn, grow, and explore oneself. Approximately 11 million children attend summer camp in the United States every year. With a seemingly unlimited supply of themes to choose from, it’s impossible not to find something your child is interested in. From sports camps to art camps to technology summer camps, no child is left out.
One camp style that’s making waves in the U.S. is the STEAM camp. An education-style camp, STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics. While tech camps have been around since 1977, they’re very different from modern STEAM camps. These programs focus on technology and science in new and exciting ways. From creating your own online game to building your own robot, campers can choose from a multitude of interesting activities.
Your child is sure to enjoy time spent at summer camp, but what are they getting out of the experience? Before spending all that money, it’s nice to know there’s more than s’mores and swimming involved. Throughout this article, we’ll explore the importance of summer camps and how your child can benefit from attending a STEAM camp this year.
Summer Camps Introduce New Experiences and Interests
A major incentive for any parent considering summer camp is the potential for skill-building and interest diversification. That is especially true of camps that deal in real life skills. A study published in the Journal of Technology Studies focused on the impact of STEAM summer camps for girls. The paper discussed a general disinterest in engineering, math, and other science programs in ninth- and tenth-grade girls. Researchers thought this might be due to misperceptions and a lack of understanding. Following a week-long STEAM camp experience, girls came out with a broader understanding of physics and a greater interest in careers that focus on the sciences.
The digital world is constantly growing, and having skills in computer technology is a huge asset in any industry. Summer camp opens the door to mastering skills that could be used in school and later at work.
Summer Camps Provide Personal Improvement and Socialization
Your child doesn’t need to attend a public-speaking summer camp to gain self-confidence. Any summer camp can instill this trait by exposing kids to situations where they must speak up, contribute, and work together.
According to the Journal of Family Issues, children who attend one week of summer camp show a drastic improvement in social relationships and self-esteem. The authors of the article gathered information from 2,300 parents to learn more about pre and post summer camp behaviors. Parents felt there were many new positive behaviors, which appeared immediately after camp and some that surfaced up to six months later, such as leadership skills.
Summer Camps Inspire Creativity
There’s an abundance of creativity to be had in summer camp. In 2017, a study showed that STEAM camps encouraging children to model with digital design and 3D printers promote creativity and problem-solving. They also improve spatial reasoning skills.
Creativity is an important trait in any discipline or industry, whether it’s veterinarians designing prosthetics for three-legged pets, dentists implementing new forms of teeth alignment, or video game designers writing scripts for their latest game. Developing these skills early will help your child succeed now and later in life.
Summer Camps Promote Independence
We don’t want our kids to grow up too fast, but when they do grow up, we want them to be successful. Summer camps promote independence in a safe and supportive environment. Children who come to summer camps might arrive feeling shy and unsure. After a week of teamwork, individual projects, and flourishing under the guidance of a counselor, children leave feeling good about themselves and what they can do.
These skills carry forward into schoolwork, life experiences, and eventually, the workforce. The Journal of Youth Development found that it’s not the theme of the camp that matters; instead, the camp provides a structured program, defined mission, skill-building, and chances for accountability and positive reinforcement.
The Relevance of Summer Camp in Young Lives
Summer camp is a fleeting annual experience with steadfast positive results. Campers dive head first into lasting friendships, discover new interests, learn what they can do, and feel good about themselves.
In an age where so many children are unsure of what they want to do when they grow up, summer camp offers a glimpse into a variety of potential skills and opportunities. Try a few different summer camps every year to find a favorite theme and skill set.
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